Butterfly started coughing about a month ago. It was only on occasion and seemed to be in response to her rawhide chews, so I stopped giving both dogs those treats. But the coughing continued; it was a sort of hacking sound, like there was something stuck in her throat and she was trying to cough it up.
I was concerned because it was the one question her cardiologist always asked me when he gave me the results of her twice yearly echocardiograms: has she been coughing? Even if her heart looked the same since her previous visit, he asked about coughing, and I always said no, she wasn’t coughing much. She’d sneeze here and there, or cough when she tried to swallow too much kibble at once, but, no, coughing was not one of her things. He never really explained why he was asking, and after the first three times I stopped asking him.
So when I noticed that she was coughing almost daily, I got scared, and made her an appointment with her regular vet. I thought it could just be allergies, and that I was getting hysterical for no reason, but really, I was afraid her heart disease had progressed.
I’ve worried about losing Butterfly since the first day we brought her home, because not only was she already eight-years-old, but she had a heart murmur they’d just noticed when we adopted her. They hadn’t heard it when they were removing her bad teeth, or excising a lump under her armpit. If they’d noticed the heart murmur, the staff said, she wouldn’t have been out on the floor and up for adoption – she’d have been in a special foster program for heart patients. So I was very lucky that they hadn’t noticed.
Butterfly’s vet did a chest x-ray that showed no changes to her heart to go along with the coughing, but she said she wanted to try Butterfly on a heart medication anyway, to increase blood flow, and see if that would help. She said that the coughing could be caused by her enlarged heart pressing on her trachea, making it more difficult for her to swallow. But that was just a guess, really. Possible side effects of her new medication would be lowering of blood sugar and listlessness, but I already do blood sugar tests for her diabetes, so it wouldn’t be an extra burden.
Fortunately, or not, there was no significant change in her blood sugar readings, and no sign of listlessness. But, she’s still coughing, three or four times daily in short bursts. She coughs a little bit when she wakes up, she coughs a little bit when she eats, she coughs a little for no reason I can see. Her mood and energy level are still great, though, and she eats and drinks and runs and pees and poops like normal. And she’s loving the twice daily doses of peanut butter. But there’s the coughing.
We have to go back to the vet and see what she says about the heart medication and the coughing. Maybe we’ll have to try a different kind of medication. Maybe she’ll tell us to redo the echocardiogram before the six month mark to make sure it really is her heart that’s causing the cough. But I’m worried. Butterfly came home as an eight-year-old puppy mill survivor, with a questionable heart, and then developed diabetes within her first year with us, so there’s always been a ticking clock over her head. I make sure to revel in her presence as much as I can and make sure that I don’t miss anything of the life she has left – but I still worry every day, and I picture my life without her as a barren wasteland. I need Butterfly to live to her full expected life span of twelve to fourteen years, but more would be better. She’s at eleven and a half now.
I’d like to find out that the coughing is something unrelated to her heart, like, maybe she’s trying to learn how to talk and this is the first step, or she’s decided to store kibble in her throat for later, and it’s more difficult than she expected, or maybe it’s just allergies. That would be wonderful.
They are so gorgeous!!!!
Rachel–I like this only because I love your posts. Anything out of the ordinary is cause for alarm with our little furry ones, and I don’t like that. I hope it is nothing and Butterfly is just trying to talk and say, “Thank you so much for being my mommy!”
I’m pretty sure her first words would have something to do with wanting more treats. She has a one track mind.
We want Butterfly to be well too… (:
I opted not to “Like” as Butterfly’s coughing makes me sad. Is there any possibility that it could be related to the season? Such as excessive pollen etc.? I know how you feel; we worry about our babies under normal circumstances but when they have unique medical issues we worry even more. I’ve turned into a complete helicopter fur-mom where my dog Sasha is concerned. And as much as I trust her different specialists, I still micromanage every detail. I was thinking the other day that I need a seperate laptop just to keep track of all her progress reports, lab results, weights, dietary restrictions. I have a feeling you know exactly what I mean.
Keeping Buttercup in my thoughts and prayers.
She started coughing before, and then I showed her the peanut butter and the coughing stopped immediately. Some things are just more important than breathing.
Lily, Lulu and I sending prayers for Butterfly
Very much appreciated!
Ack, I can’t imagine how scary that coughing must be. I get completely stressed any time I notice anything even slightly different about my pets, and when Kasper turned 3 (3 years ago now) I was already worrying about him getting old, sick and losing him. We love them so much of course we worry.
Sending lots of positive thoughts. Hopefully the cough is nothing, or something completely innocent – I knew someone whose dog developed a cough after swallowing some kibble, and it irritated / scratched the dogs’ throat.
Apologies if I’ve rambled, it’s late and I’m half asleep 🙂
Thank you for your concern!
Both of your dogs are precious…but that face on Butterfly makes me smile!!
My Pomeranian came to live with me at the age of 9 years. I inherited her from her original owner when he passed. I loved her so much I was sad I didn’t know her from puppy-hood…but I ended up getting to enjoy life with her for 9 more years! Yep she lived to be 18 years….never know.
Give both of your babies smooches from Texas!
Hope your little one gets better.
Me too! Thank you!
She looks like the sweetest little thing! (Both of them.) Fingers crossed that it’s not heart related or anything serious. Love her name! 🙂
oh dear, please keep us updated! Max will be 9 – and Goldens are lucky to get more than 10 or 11 years – so I know your fears and the feeling that your life will never be the same. Worry steals joy, try to remember that, and give that sweet baby extra kisses from Auntie Susan tonight, please!
I know a Golden who made it to fifteen! Miss Butterfly is all joy all the time, even in between coughs.
One of our friends made it to fifteen – she was the sweetest dog who ever lived, her name was Misty and she just was the essence of calm. She was a Golden, too. Miss Butterfly feels like one of my kids, even though we’ve never met in person, I would hope she would not run and hide if she ever did happen to see us somewhere!
She’s learning to approach people; it’s slow progress, but it’s happening.
I sincerely hope that Butterfly’s problem is something simple. Sending love and hugs…
Me too. Thank you!
Hope the cough is nothing serious. Sending good thoughts and cyber hugs to ya’ll. ❤
Rachel U understand. I can only say I will pray for you both. Every cough and hairball, every lump or bump or scratch terrifies me with mine.I hope Butterfly gets every day, hour and minute she should with you but never forget what the alternative might have been, In this world it’s a small miracle you found each other at all. Hugs
It feels like a really big miracle to me. Thank you!
You just love the stuffing out of your fur babies for as long as you can!
Butterfly is as cute as a button and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that her coughing is like what you said, her trying to tell you she wants more Kibbles n Bits.
and bits and bits and bits!
Hugs and positive thoughts to you and Butterfly.
hope the coughing subsides- it is always worrisome when our babies have symptoms. Thinking of you ❤
“If they’d noticed the heart murmur, the staff said, she wouldn’t have been out on the floor and up for adoption – she’d have been in a special foster program for heart patients. So I was very lucky that they hadn’t noticed.”
As someone who does rescue … this is how I know you are special. I hope the coughing turns out to be nothing serious.
Thank you so much!
Our dog sonny has developed the same. http://wp.me/p6MlcL-tt
It’s most likely congestive heart failure. Progressive.
I’m so sorry.
Thank you as well for your support
I’m so sorry for your little butterfly
You are so welcome.
Poor Butterfly. I feel so bad for you guys. She’ll be in mu prayers. I hope she feels better soon.
Me too. Thank you!
I so hope everything is ok with Butterfly. I know how it feels when these little ones are growing older. My Tide is 9 now xmd I have had him since he was 4 months old. Suddenly I realize I will not always have him with me but try not to think about that and make his life as good as possible. My best to you and Butterfly, wishing you many happy years still to come.
Thank you, and you too!
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Thank you so mcuh!
I hope Butterfly gets over her cough. She looks pretty frisky!
She really is!
Our sweet boy has also started coughing and the vet confirmed that it was because his heart is enlarged and is pressing on his trachea. He is also now on medication, but instead of “twice daily doses of peanut butter”, he is enjoying the mozzarella cheese snack twice a day! The good news for your Butterfly, though, is that there isn’t any change in her chest x-rays or blood sugar levels and she still enjoys life. 🙂 Keep loving your beautiful, sweet girl like you always have and I hope for many healthy years to come.
I’ve tried the cheese route, but both girls manage to eat the cheese and leave the pill behind. Peanut butter is too sticky for them and outsmarts them every time!
Oh, I hope Butterfly is okay! My thoughts and prayers are with both of you!
Thank you so much!
Butterfly is in my thoughts. I do hope it is just a minor annoyance that will pass soon!
Thank you! Me too!
About six years ago, my dog was coughing and hacking and the vet diagnosed him with kennel cough, and charged us $500 for the diagnosis and medicines. A few years later, he started hacking again. I remembered that he had been obsessively grooming his arms and I wondered if he had fur balls stuck in his throat. I gave him a spoonful of olive oil (I forget how I got him to take it) and his coughing stopped. Maybe it helped the fur balls slide down? Who knows. But I do wonder if his $500 kennel cough diagnosis was accurate. Anyway, ask your vet if you can give Butterfly some olive oil. Mix it in with the peanut butter. Just a thought.
Food cures are Butterfly’s favorite! Thank you!
Sending positive energy to not only Butterfly’s heart, but to yours too!!!
Big hugs and Shavuah Tov!
Please spare some time to read my last Sunday’s story from the archives of ENVIUS THOUGHTS in https://nvsr.wordpress. com on IN THE DOMAIN OF CATS AND DOGS.
Love the before and after shots… And as to your worries – you cross the bridge when you come to it – a wise person once said 👍
I wish her well for you
Hi Rachel, my little Sydney Silkie had the same issues at eleven, it was congestive heart failure, but with the medication she lived to a few months short of her fifteen birthday, so keep positive, and pray. God knows how much the hearts of those of us who are single need our little kids. God Bless.
That’s wonderful! Thank you!
I know how you feel…alarm bells goes off when our pets are sick. My cats do cough sometimes when there’s a fur ball stuck and they need to bring it out. I don’t know when it comes to dogs. I hope Butterfly gets better and the cough goes away.
Me too! Thank you!
We all hope she continues to thrive for years to come, and that the coughing doesn’t spoil her fun. Love from Pip and the boys
Hugs to you and Butterfly. Fingers crossed that it’s allergies.
Thank you! All fingers and paws are crossed here too!
Sending love and hugs your way 💜🐾🐾
I hope that the coughing turns out to be nothing serious.
Many years ago I had a cat who was ill and not eating. The vet decided that he had a huge cancer mass in his stomach and he wanted to put him to sleep right away. I asked him to wait and get a second opinion from the older vet who was off that day. The next day the older vet suggested treating the cat for a hairball because this had been a problem with this particular cat before. So he treated him with a mild laxative and out came the hairball a day or two later. The so-called “cancerous mass” was no more!
That cat went on to live a long and happy life, and I’ve always been grateful that I didn’t accept the first vet’s panic-mongering but waited for the wiser man’s more sensible diagnosis and treatment. Even if an animal was terminally ill, that older vet also used to say that the animal’s happiness and quality of life was the most important thing, and if the animal didn’t know it was sick then why spoil its fun as long as it was still enjoying life?
Our animals are each only with us for a small amount of time, relative to our human lifespan, so if we make sure they are happy in their short lives with us, we will have done something wonderful and worthwhile in this world.
Big hugs to both Butterfly and Cricket from across the world!
I totally agree with the older wiser vet! Butterfly is a very happy girl. Thank you!
I don’t want to be a gloom & doom sayer, but I might have an answer. I lost Toro ( my little guy) to a collapsing trachea last March. Small dogs can be prone to this (apparently) and maybe it is something to consider for you? Toro was 14, and had it during the four years he was with me, it just got worse as he aged. Toro was a rescue from a no-kill animal group, and I like to think those four years were happy. He was a pure bred chihuahua. I have had several Chihuahuas over the years and he was the first who had the condition of those I’ve owned. Since beautiful Butterfly is a different breed, maybe it isn’t collapsing trachea (and so I hope) but the symptoms you describe are eerily similar to what Toro went through. Your vet can advise you. Thanks for sharing more photos of your sweet dogs! It always brightens my Sundays!
We went through something similar with our Sammy and the medications they gave him didn’t really do anything for him – seemed to make it worse in some ways. I hope things are better for you and your sweetheart. It’s so cruel that these ambassadors or heaven don’t get to stay until we can go home together and never be parted. I can remember reading a long time ago a little boy’s answer to why dogs don’t live as long as we do. He said, “They already know how to be good.” My prayers to you. For us and our Sam at the end it was became about one thing, what was best for him and not for us. Love to you!
Miss Butterfly has figured out all of the wonderful things in life, I just need some more time to learn it all from her.
Poor Butterfly. I hope the vet can find the cause and treat it accordingly.
Me too! Thank you!
I have little Poms (5 and 15 pounds). They are my second set. The older dogs, Max and Peaches, are gone, although they each lived to old age. Peaches, had a cough my vet described as a collapsing trachea…apparently a defect many small dogs have in the same way some large doges have hip dysplasia. Peaches lived with the cough until she developed a brain tumor which led to her death at 19. Dogs can live a very long time with a cough!
We went through a lot of this stuff with Kyla (RIP Dec 2014) although for different reasons. The Addison’s, the pancreatitis, and finally the melanoma. You are right to enjoy her now as much as possible. We miss Miss Kyla.
I miss Kyla too!
Rachel, you are a super good Mom and Butterfly has flourished with you. If she stands a chance for a long life anywhere, it is in your wonderful care. ❤
Thank you so much!
I’m sorry to hear Butterfly is still coughing – though maybe she’s learned coughing results in peanut butter! Pearl has frequent episodes of diaorrhea, and I often wonder if she’s clocked the connection between diaorrhea and fresh chicken dinner. Joking aside, it is worrying when their health is threatened. Millie has a heart murmur, and like you I’ve been told to look out for coughing. Touch wood it hasn’t happened yet, but I can relate to that feeling of a ticking time bomb.
Every once in a while I wonder if Butterfly is putting on the cough for effect. She is a peanut butter addict!
Good luck! ❤
I was so afraid to open this post when I saw the title. Sweet Butterfly ❤ Hoping that it will turn out to be nothing of much concern. Trixie and I will send happy, loving thoughts to her.
Thank you! I’m sorry for worrying you.
No apology necessary 🙂 I think all of us readers have just come to care so much for your little ones.
Well wishes to all of you.
Bailey and I are sending loads of positive thoughts and well wishes! ❤
We can feel it!
wishing healing energy
for coughs & other ill being.